Two and one-half years ago, I was elected to borough council after living in East Washington for 22 years in the hope of making positive changes, many of which I feel I accomplished. Those included the updating of Memorial Park, sidewalk repair, new trees and some updated ordinances, including a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance ordinance to provide tax relief for home improvements.
I also made efforts to ensure the community continues to have a police department.
However, I found myself in an untenable situation. The tone of borough meetings had become personal, with name-calling and allegations of contributing to people’s health conditions. Email messages questioned our concern for community safety. The environment at the borough office became hostile. Due to this, our previous secretary resigned, our tax collector moved her operations to her home and I heard multiple complaints from several employees and volunteers who are now not as willing to give of their time. There was a reluctance on the part of council members to work together for compromise. Members were voting on issues but not reviewing the material, then proclaiming that they did not realize what they were voting for.
My major concern, however, was there had been recent activities which I did not believe were legally permitted. An executive meeting was called not following proper protocol, nor was it scheduled through the council president. I know that I, as well as others, was not contacted about availability, once again as per protocol. A youth group was employed to mow a borough field without council approval, which I felt was a massive liability issue, not to mention that the order was given by the mayor, who has absolutely no authority in these matters.
I did not want to be guilty by association.
When my son was young, I always told him that if his friends were doing something that he thought was wrong, then he should inform them and remove himself from the situation. In essence, I believe what they were doing was wrong and I removed myself from the situation.
I apologize to the residents who voted for me. I hope you understand why I was unable to complete my term.